Wednesday, June 07, 2006

the end of spurs-lakers era

so, yes, the seven-year run of the presence by san antonio spurs or los
angeles lakers is over.
speaking of the nba finals, now we all wait for the thursday (or better
said friday early morning... hey, isn't it better to live in china or
venezuela? at least because of the comfortable time-zones) and the
dallas texas maaaaavs versus miami florida heeeeeat.
before the refs' coin is tossed, the sides of the court are chosen and
game1 jump-ball is thrown, let's recall the post-jordan nba finals
since the lockout-shortened season 1999 to last-year defensive
(i'm goin' to write about "what-i-still-remember-from-that-year".)
we begin with the memorable year for san antonians and spurs fans,
1999, and the first nba title for the silver and black.
with a healthy duo of "twin towers" david robinson and tim duncan and
the additions of playoff veterans such as mario elie and jerome
kersey, the spurs looked forward to the 98-99 season.
prior to the beginning of training camps however, the nba owners led by
commissioner david stern locked out the players in order to force a
new collective bargaining agreement with the nba players association
the season was delayed over three months until resolution on a new
labor agreement was reached in january 1999 (the x-mas without the
nba basketball! i don't wish it to anyone. i hope that we're not
gonna experience this catastrophe anymore. imagine, it's like the
snow is green!).
the spurs faced a little bit injury-laden new york knicks (no, it
isn't a silly joke) in the nba finals and, on june 25, 1999, won the
series and the franchise's first nba world championship in game 5
(final score: 78-77) on the knicks' home court of madison square
timmy duncan was named the finals mvp.
and the players (i write only those, who i have got in my mind now) on
the both sides of the trenchs: the admiral, young td, jaren jackson,
steve kerr, avery johnson, antonio daniels, elie, kersey, sean
elliott, malik rose, will perdue, brad lohaus - superstar (yeah, it's
right!) latrell sprewell ("post-carlesimo-choking" season for him),
marcus camby, allen houston, pat ewing, larry johnson; john starks was
traded before the season for sprewell.
the outcome: spurs, 4-1.
2000, the year, when the rule of the mighty lakers began.
lakers vs. indiana pacers.
unfortunately for the pacers, their first nba finals appearance was
against the dominating l.a.l., who proved too much for them to handle
as they ended indiana's championship hopes in six games.
only classic (for me, the classic means that the final margin of result
is the most 3 pts (one shot)) was game4, when the la won 120-118 (ot)
in indiana and the l.a. were up 3-1.
mvp: shaq.
players: kobe, shaq, derek fisher, ron harper, glen rice, rick fox,
robert horry, john salley, devean george - marc jackson, reggie
miller, chris mullin, sam perkins, rick smits, dale davis, derrick
mckey, jeff foster, austin croshere.
outcome: lakers, 4-2.
these 3 years, the lakers, led by superstars kobe bryant
and shaquille o'neal, won in dominating performances, each year
completing the task in less games.
2001, the opponent was philadelphia sixers.
the lakers had not lost a game in the playoffs (!).
the 76ers came out fighting in la and came away with a shocking g1
overtime 107-101 upset of the lakers (iverson's best big-game ever.)
after that, the lakers went on to sweep the next four games in the
series to win.
mvp: shaqster.
players: fisher, harper, horry, isaiah rider, kobe, fox, brian shaw,
shaq, horace grant, george - dikembe mutombo, vernon maxwell, allen
i., toni kukoc, aaron mckie, eric snow, tyrone hill, theo ratliff.
outcome: lakers, 4-1.
2002, they swept new jersey nets.
lakers kept the lead virtually all the time in every game; only for a
short while near the beginning of g4 did the nets gain any significant
lead in a game.
only close game in the end was g3, 106-103 for purple and gold.
mvp: diesel shaq.
players: shaq, horry, fox, kobe, fisher, george, shaw, mitch richmond,
samaki walker, george - todd macculloch, kenyon martin, keith van
horn, kerry kittles, jason kidd, richard jefferson, jason collins,
lucious harris.
outcome: lakers, 4-0.
entering the 02-03 season, the spurs team knew it would be memorable
for at least two reasons, as david robinson announced that it would be
his last in the nba (i almost cried at the end of the last g6, when
david was leaving the court. i swear. btw, i've seen this game perhaps
20 times! a great product to watch. REALLY.) and the spurs would begin
play at their new arena, the sbc center, named after
telecommunications giant sbc whose corporate headquarters are located
in san antonio.
the Spurs had remade their team in an attempt to dethrone the lakers.
finally, the lakers streak of championships ended and the spurs beat
the j-kidd-led nets in the finals.
the series against the nets marked the first time two former aba teams
played each other for the nba championship.
g2 was interesting, 'cos the nets took away the win, 87-85.
g4 was even more attractive, the spurs won (to my delight) 77-76.
game 6 was particularly memorable as tim duncan produced a
triple-double (in fact, he could become the 1st player ever to record
a quadruple double in the playoffs, he had 21 pts, 20 rebs, 10 asts
and 8 blks!!! (and one doubtful block wasn't admitted by the refs and
he blocked one shot together with dave robinson, but this block was
recorded as a block of robinson...)) and led his team to an 11-0
game-winning run during the final minutes.
any questions about him being the BEST power forward EVER?
mvp: td.
players: stephen jackson, tony parker, steve smith, speedy claxton,
bruce bowen, manu ginobili (then i used to name him emanuel), td,
kerr, rose, danny ferry, kevin willis, robinson - anthony johnson,
kidd, martin, harris, jefferson, kittles, collins, mutombo, brian
outcome: spurs, 4-2.
2004: do you remember that retooled lakers?
of course, veteran stars gary payton and karl malone signed with the
along with bryant and o'neal, they formed what many expected to be one
of best teams in nba history.
the lakers were the clear, heavily favored favorites to win the nba.
however, the detroit pistons, led by defensive star ben wallace and
offensive floor general chauncey billups, defeated the injury- and
dissension-ridden lakers in dominating fashion.
the pistons became the first home team to sweep games 3 through 5 in a
finals series.
it's worth while to watch all thrilling series, but only g2 was up for
grabs and la won 99-91 (ot).
mvp award: big shot chauncey.
players: billups, ben, rasheed wallace, lindsay hunter, mehmet okur,
tayshaun prince, rip hamilton, corliss williamson, chucky atkins,
darko milicic (hey, if you think d-wade is the 1st from the 2003 draft
class in the finals, you're wrong, here's the proof) - fisher, george,
kobe, karl, gary, shaq, fox, slava medvedenko.
outcome: pistons, 4-1.
and eventually, 2005...
in 2005, for the first time since 1987, the previous two champions met
to decide it all.
the pistons and spurs were both considered defensive specialists,
having both knocked off offensive-minded no. 1 seeds to reach the
the first four games were blowouts for the home team, but g5 (96-95,
ot) produced an instant classic.
the game was close throughout: even as the spurs pulled away in the
third quarter the pistons came back and the game was tied 89-89 and
went into overtime after td missed a potential winning shot for san
in overtime, the pistons jumped to a quick 95-91 lead but rob horry
soared to the rack like he was 25 yrs old, dunked with the foul, but
didn't convert the following free-throw.
then he scored the game-winning 3-point basket with 6 seconds left.
this capped an explosive 21-point performance by horry off the bench,
even though he had not scored at all until 1 second remained in the
third quarter.
horry scored more than a point a minute the rest of the game.
this was a capstone to his long career of similarly dramatic
game-winning heroics.
in g6 the defending champion pistons were given little chance to
recover from such a heartbreaking loss but continued a trend of
excelling with their "backs-against-the-wall".
the game was tight throughout until, with a one-point lead and two
minutes to play, detroit scored the final 8 points of the game to win
key to the detroit win was rasheed, who returned to the game to score
7 points and garner a game-clinching steal and rebound, all in the
final four minutes.
the flamboyant 'sheed thus earned some redemption for his gaffe at the
end of g5 when he left the red-hot horry unguarded on the game-winning
a decisive g7 (june 23) was now set up to conclude this suddenly
gripping series, the first finals g7 in 11 years.
g7 was won by the spurs 81-74, giving them their third nba finals
championship in seven years.
mvp: td.
players: glenn robinson, td, bowen, horry, parker, ginobili, brent
barry, tony massenburg, rasho nesterovic, nazr mohammed, beno udrih,
devin brown - billups, hamilton, wallaces, prince, antonio mcdyess,
hunter, elden campbell, milicic.
outcome: spurs, 4-3.
so, let's enjoy this year's finals, you czecho-slovak fans on galaxie
sport with petr janouch, don't forget to check the's finals
blog out, sleep through the white day, rather don't go to the schools
in the morning, pick the work leisure, book the holiday for your wives
and girlfriends and do whatever to follow this ultimate nba battle.
and my predictions...
hmm... it's definitely a toss-up... i'd rather wait on the match-ups in
the 1st game and then say my opinion... but from this standpoint...
i expect a very close series, maybe 7 games...
will shaq be transcendent?
will flash be unbelievable-mvpable?
will white j-will chocolate hit his shots?
will the glove play sufficient d?
will toine walker be under control?
will udo haslem play elite defense on dirk (i think he's able to do
that quite well and stop the german)?
will zo mourning and posey help much?
whose bench will have more of an impact?
whose arena with fans will be more helpful to own players (hey, it's
even the battle of the arenas, american airlines center vs. american
airlines arena:)?
what about the coach riley-avery match-up?
will dirk hasselhoff, mitch nowitzki, dirks nowitzkis play like the
best player on the planet?
will josh howard fly on the court in every game?
will terry hit clutch shots?
will diop and dampier partially stop o'neeeal?
will devin harris be fast like the light and will it be necessary?
will stackhouse be the best sixth man in the league?
will van horn get rid of my designation "the worst player wide and
will cuban be mad like a dog?
will shaq break the hoop after alley-oop?
we'll hear partial answers in the g1 in dallas.
oh, the HEAT in six!
and what's under the cover in the heat lockerroom?
look on espn's page 2, there are some interesting and funny
i guess that they have there the residues of jimmy hoffa!!

p.s.: do you know that pat riley is known for trademarking the word
p.s.2: chat> hi manu, my question is more a request than a question.
can you tell us the funniest thing that has happened to you as a
those things that you can't stop laughing about.
*i think that what made me laugh the most inside the court was in my
second year playing against portland, there was one minute left, we
were ahead by 2 points, we make an offensive rebound and when tim
passes the ball to me, to kill time, i pretend that i am going to
shoot a 3-pointer...
we almost lost pop!!
he almost died, poor thing, you can't imagine his scream AND his jump!
everyone on the bench was laughing until after the game.*
p.s.3: chat> manu, what was the first thing that pop said to you when
he saw you?
*hi, nice to meet you, i'm pop;-)*
p.s.4: when dirk is david hasselhoff alias mitch buchannon, then who's
pamela anderson alias cj parker?
dj mbenga!
tuesday 6 june 2006 henceforth, for me dj mbenga is renamed cj

Written by Foreigner in CS - Jun 6 2006 4:27PM

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